• Engadget Daily: FBI confirms North Korea involvment in Sony Pictures hack, RuPaul on 'gaymers' and more!

    Sony's had a seriously rough go of it lately, but hopefully its hacking nightmare has finally come to an end – the FBI has confirmed that North Korea was definitely involved in the initial cyberattack and the White House is formulating its response. Catch all that and more in the gallery below, including our interview with RuPaul, MSI GT72 Dominator review and the road to Samsung's domination of CES.

  • Comcast's new customer service fix: use the app to schedule a call

    Years of being dinged for ineffective and unresponsive customer service may be catching up to Comcast, which is finally responding with some much-needed tweaks. Charlie Herrin became its SVP of Customer Experience in September, bringing new features to the My Account app (iOS, Android) that track the progress of field technicians and now, arrange customer service call backs. The way it works, is that customers can initiate troubleshooting within the app, and if that doesn't work or doesn't apply, choose a convenient time for a rep to call them instead of wasting time sitting on hold. There's also an option to tweet for support as well, so whatever way you prefer works. Options like this have existed before, with phone prompts during periods of high call volume, but putting it in the app should make it easier for customers to monitor when their issue will be addressed without having to go through the phone tree in the first place.

  • Reuters: Google's 'Android M' project hooks cars directly to the internet

    If Reuters' rumors are true, then apparently the folks at Mountain View think the Android Auto overlays rolling out this year don't go far enough. Citing unnamed sources, it indicates an Android M initiative that's built directly into cars – no smartphone necessary – is set to roll out in about a year. The idea is to make Android the standard for controlling navigation and entertainment, no matter what phone the driver is holding. Some automakers, like Hyundai and Honda have already announced plans for systems that run their own custom flavors of Android, but it sounds like this could go much further – if any automakers actually plug it into their vehicles. The Detroit Auto Show rolls around next month right after CES, if any such project is under way then those seem like excellent times to make an announcement, don't you think?

  • NASA delays 'capture the asteroid' plan until next year

    Now that the ESA has landed on a comet, NASA wants to do them one better: capture an entire asteroid (or a piece of one) and put it in orbit around the moon in 2019. That's the Asteroid Redirect Mission in a nutshell, and the space agency has now said it will put off which form it will take until next year. Option A involved capturing an entire meteorite about 30 feet across, while option B would see them landing on larger target, Philae-style, and digging out a boulder-sized chunk (see the video below). In both cases, the rock will be towed back to the moon and placed in orbit there. Astronauts launching from the upcoming Space Launch System (SLS) in an Orion capsule will then intercept the orbiting meteorite in 2020, retrieve samples and return to Earth.

  • Uber explores using biometrics and lie detectors to screen drivers

    Uber has come under fire for allegedly doing little to protect passengers from unscrupulous drivers, and it's determined to improve that reputation – in some cases, using relatively unusual methods. The ridesharing company's recently hired Head of Global Safety, Philip Cardenas, tells customers that Uber is exploring numerous techniques for verifying drivers, such as biometrics, voice fingerprinting and lie detector tests. "Scientific analysis and technology" should help make up for gaps in background check infrastructure around the world, Cardenas says.

  • Steam is region locking PC games to thwart low currency value exploits

    Apple isn't the only one making changes to how it deals with the Russian ruble. Valve is taking measures to protect PC game publishers on its Steam platform too, as spotted by NeoGAF's ever-vigilant eyes. The online storefront is region locking games in an effort to prevent users from exploiting low currency values. For example, you could buy a Russian game on Steam for a few bucks as opposed to, say, $40 - $60 when purchased through the US storefront. Now, that's a little harder to do and it's causing a bit of an uproar because PC games have typically not been subject to region locks the way console games, on the other hand, have. The move is affecting areas outside of Putin's backyard too, with reports that Brazil, Indonesia and their neighboring areas are affected too.

  • Google and Verizon strike a deal to use each other's patents

    Google has been forging patent deals left and right with smartphone manufacturers to both get technology and fend off lawsuits, and now it's taking a similar approach with American carriers. The search firm has reached a deal with Verizon that gives both sides access to patents covering a "broad range of products." Neither side is saying what those products are, but they're clear that this is a hedge against patent trolls – they'll have more ammunition the next time someone files a lawsuit over some dodgy intellectual property claims.

  • 'Light Cocoon' is a fabric-wrapped concept car with a 3D-printed skeleton

    German firm EDAG Engineering regularly conjures up both futuristic and wacky concept cars, just like the "Light Cocoon" pictured above slated to be showcased at the 2015 Geneva Motor Show. The company calls it the "ultimate in future lightweight construction," because it doesn't have the typical automobile shell. Instead, it has a 3D-printed skeleton covered in tough weatherproof fabric called Texapore Softshell that's apparently four times lighter than copy paper. (And yes, it has backlighting – the whole design was just asking for it.) EDAG says this unusual sports car design was inspired by leaves, which have veins supporting layers of epidermis and mesophyll, as any grade school student can tell you. However, this isn't the first fabric-covered concept car we've seen. In 2008, BMW revealed the GINA Light Visionary concept that's essentially the Batmobile with a carbon fiber and metal frame wrapped in textile.

  • Half-Life 2: Episode One lands on NVIDIA's Shield tablet, skips handheld

    After successfully porting two of Valve's most popular franchises to the NVIDIA Shield, today's news is only natural – Half-Life 2: Episode One is now available for download on Google Play as a Shield exclusive. The expansion's launch is notable not only as yet another high-profile PC game worming its way into the Android ecosystem, but also as a possible marker of something else: the slow death of NVIDIA's original Shield handheld. NVIDIA's original gaming portable is still available, but it won't run the platform's latest release: that's a tablet exclusive.

  • Viber grows its ecosystem with a new section for games

    If you're going to try rivaling Skype, you may as well go big or go home. For Viber, over the past few months, this has meant taking its messaging and VoIP calling services to a different level, one that feels more like a mini social network with each passing update. And, without doubt, it helps to have resources at hand from Rakuten, its parent company. Accordingly, Viber has now announced that it is adding games to its platform, in a push to continue growing its ecosystem and give users features beyond calling and messaging.